• France's news in English
 

India selects Dassault for major jet deal

Published: 01 Feb 2012 08:28 GMT+01:00

India has selected the French firm Dassault over the Eurofighter consortium as the preferred bidder for 126 fighter jets in a major contract estimated to be worth $12 billion (€9 billion).

 

Dassault won the right to enter exclusive negotiations with India after lodging a lower bid than its European rival in the world's biggest single defence deal currently in process, an Indian government source told AFP.

Dassault, whose Rafale fighter was pitted against the Eurofighter Typhoon, said it was "honoured and grateful" to be selected and stressed its commitment to meeting the "operational requirements" of the Indian Air Force.

The French government welcomed the news but added that the final contract had yet to be signed.

"At this stage -- and I want to be cautious -- we are in a phase of exclusive negotiations," French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche told France's BFM radio.

Lellouche declined to release financial details of Dassault's bid.

Dassault Aviation shares soared more than 20 percent on the Paris stock exchange after the news broke.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed Dassault's selection, saying that it "goes far beyond the company that makes them, far beyond aerospace -- it is a vote of confidence in the entire French economy."

He said the firm was selected "thanks to the competitiveness" of its bid.

"The negotiation of the contract will begin very soon with the full support of French authorities. It will include major transfers of technology guaranteed by the French state," Sarkozy said.

Eurofighter said it respected India's decision but was disappointed.

"Although this is not yet a contract signature and contract negotiations are still ahead, we are disappointed," a statement said.

The huge contract to supply war planes to fast-developing India has been fiercely fought over for four years.

India in April pulled a surprise by cutting out US bidders Boeing and Lockheed Martin -- much to Washington's disappointment -- as well as dropping Sweden's Saab AB and the Russian makers of the MiG-35 from the race.

That left Dassault and Eurofighter -- a consortium of Britain's BAE Systems, Italy's Finmeccanica and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, said the decision was "a big win for the Rafale" but warned that the French side faced a period of tough negotiation.

"Rafale has been selected as the preferred bidder but any student of Indian procurement knows that this means nothing until the contract is physically signed," Hardy said.

He predicted that the recent sharp depreciation of the Indian currency and "standard contractual wrangling" could delay any final deal for years.

The tendered contract is for the outright purchase of 18 combat aircraft by 2012 with another 108 to be built in India with options to acquire more.

Such a large order attracted strong lobbying during visits to India by US President Barack Obama, Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

India, the biggest importer of military hardware among emerging nations, issued a request for proposals in 2007 and trials of aircraft from the six companies competing for the deal began a year later.

The procurement of the fighter jets is a key part of India's military upgrade programme, aimed at securing its borders against rivals Pakistan and China.

The Rafale and the Typhoon were both in action over Libya last year during the international operation to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from Moamer Kadhafi's forces.

Both plane makers were relying on the contract to secure their futures amid falling defence budgets in developed markets, with Dassault also keen to sign up the first foreign buyer for the Rafale.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet warned in December that the Rafale production line would be halted if none of the jets could be sold abroad.

France has ordered 180 of the planes.


 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Students find 560,000-year-old tooth in France
The two archaeological students who found the 560,000-year-old human tooth. Photo: Denis Dainat/Musée de Tautavel

Students find 560,000-year-old tooth in France

Archaeology students have unearthed what is understood to be the oldest human body part ever found in France - a tooth from 560,000 years ago. Researchers have hailed it as a "major discovery". READ  

Forest Fires
'Severe' risk of more wild fires in southern France
Fires in southern France have turned hundreds of hectares to ash. Photo: AFP

'Severe' risk of more wild fires in southern France

Despite French firefighters managing to contain two huge forest fires in southern France on Monday, the risk of more blazes remains "very severe" across the region, authorities say. READ  

French villagers bugged out by beetle invasion
Beetles invade a French village. Photo: Screengrab Le Parisien

French villagers bugged out by beetle invasion

Freaked out villagers in a French hamlet have asked authorities to come to the aid after seeing their homes invaded by swarms of beetles each night. READ  

Hollande to decide on Russian warship deal
Will the Mistral warships ever end up in Russian hands? The French president is set to decide. Photo: AFP

Hollande to decide on Russian warship deal

French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that he would decide "in the coming weeks" whether or not to scrap a contentious contract to supply two warships to Russia. READ  

10,000 campers forced to flee forest fire in France
Fires have been spreading through France this summer. Photo: AFP

10,000 campers forced to flee forest fire in France

UPDATED: A new wild fire broke out in the south of France on Monday afternoon which forced authorities to evacuate three campsites where 10,000 holidaymakers had been staying. READ  

UK minister holds EU reform talks in Paris
UK's George Osborne and France's Michel Sapin wil talk in Paris on Monday. Photo: AFP

UK minister holds EU reform talks in Paris

Britain's finance minister said on Monday he believed a "win-win" solution was possible to reform the EU ahead of his country's in-out referendum, as he kicked off a tour of European capitals. READ  

EU takes France to court over Ryanair aid
Brussels has demanded millions of euros from Ryanair over the use of several airports in France. Photo: AFP

EU takes France to court over Ryanair aid

The EU referred France to the bloc's top court on Monday for failing to recover nearly €10 million in illegal state aid received by low-cost airlines Ryanair and Transavia. READ  

IN PICTURES
Huge forest fire rages in France for fourth day
A firefighter surveys the damage as the fire continues to ravage south western France. Photo: AFP

Huge forest fire rages in France for fourth day

UPDATED: One of France's worst forest fires in five years is still raging in southwestern France, with the homes of around 1,000 people evacuated since Friday. READ  

Bikini beating furore shows tension in France
A file image of a woman sunbathing in swimwear at a park. Photo: AFP

Bikini beating furore shows tension in France

French social media erupted in fury at the weekend after news spread that a woman sunbathing in a park in northern France was badly beaten for wearing a bikini. The blame was immediately pointed at Muslim 'religious police' but it appears people were too quick to point the finger. READ  

French police seize six tonnes of cannabis
The hashish haul was among the biggest in years for French police. File photo: AFP

French police seize six tonnes of cannabis

French police discovered nearly six tonnes of cannabis resin, known as hashish, in a villa in the southern city of Marseille and arrested three men, the interior ministry said on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
Britain's Chris Froome claims his second Tour de France
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
The heat is back on: Temperatures rise as mini-heatwave hits France
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
International
Why French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Ten ideas that could improve the quality of life in Paris
National
Rules for taking selfies at the Eiffel Tower: No.1 Keep your clothes on
National
Paris's trendy Canal Saint-Martin is now more tip than hip
National
Westeros is coming: Paris to welcome Game of Thrones exhibition
Anger lives on 30 years after French bombing of Greenpeace ship
Travel
France has two new World Heritage sites, but here's ten you don't know
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,581
jobs available